Be smart about antivirus protection!
But don’t just install the first thing that shows up in Google. A little research can help you make a decision that ensures your computer is protected – and it might protect your wallet, too. There are two main sites I turn to for information on antivirus products: AV-Test and AV-Comparatives. Both are independent organizations, not connected to any vendors of antivirus software, who run comprehensive detection, cleaning, and usability tests.
AV-Test’s May 2012 results are a great place to start, scoring products on protection (stopping viruses from infecting your computer), repair (how well the program can remove malware from an infected computer), and usability (how much does the program slow down your computer, how many false positives it detects, etc.). There are several free options, such as AVG Free and Panda Cloud Free Edition, which rate as high (or higher) than some paid programs.
Also extremely useful are their reviews of antivirus for mobile devices, like smartphones running Android or Windows Mobile. As more and more people use their smartphones as their primary way of accessing the internet (and store more and more personal information on them), There are more and more viruses being found for smartphones, so it’s important to protect yourself.
If you’re worried about the security of your computer, you can always attend our Staying Safe Online class, which focuses on detecting and avoiding scams and phishing online, or our Protecting Your Computer 101 class, which focuses on how to avoid malware like viruses and spyware.
Have you had good or bad experiences with a particular antivirus software? Are there places you turn to for researching antivirus programs? Let me know in the comments!